Social Question

Frankie's avatar

Why would a gay person not support marriage equality?

Asked by Frankie (4032 points ) January 27th, 2012

Inspired by this news story: http://news.yahoo.com/mother-gay-son-asks-santorum-wife-handle-her-053704939.html

I’m always very surprised when I hear of a self-identified gay person who does not support marriage equality. I try to remember that it is unwise to basically essentialize all gay people, but for the life of me, I can’t come up with a good reason why a gay person wouldn’t support it. I know some people are against marriage on principle (maybe they don’t believe in monogamy or have a problem with the historical unequal gender paradigms in marriage as an institution, etc.), but they usually do not wish to ban it altogether – it’s more of a personal view that they do not project onto others. So why would a gay person be any different? It doesn’t help that I’ve never met a gay person who doesn’t support gay marriage, so I have never been able to ask right at the source, as it were. Any thoughts?

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21 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

First of all, that is the mother saying that, not the gay son. But there are gay people who don’t believe in marriage.

He wasn’t quoted as being against it, he was quoted as not believing in it. There is a big difference.

Frankie's avatar

@zenvelo I realize that. The news article is simply a recent example of a “phenomenon” I have heard of before. I know there are people who don’t “believe” in marriage (in fact, I do believe I addressed that in my question), but I have a difficult time understanding why a gay person would not support other gay people choosing to marry, even if they, themselves, do not believe in marriage as an institution.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have wondered this too. We have a couple of openly gay politicians in the Australian Labor Party who have publicly said they do not support gay marriage, but I think this is because it is the ‘party’ line and the ALP do not allow crossing the floor on issues. They must follow the party platform on issues. I therefore don’t necessarily believe their public stance is their private stance. They have since supported the ALP motion for a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.

The only other reason I can think of is if their religious views are in conflict with same-sex marriage. So if someone is a staunch catholic and is opposed based on the Church’s stance.

Other than that… I will be reading to see what other people come up with. Good question @Frankie.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

They may feel that marriage is tied to religion…

I have struggled with this very issue myself.

I grew up in a home where I was taught that marriage is a picture of God and his love for the Church (the people he chose to “save”)...

Picture of God
Husband
This is why I was taught father is the head of the home… because God is the head of the Church.

Picture of Church
Wife
This is why I was taught that a wife was to revere her husband and let her husband have the final say in the home.

Together, I was taught… the husband was to love his wife and forgive her for everything and not be bitter against her… because God loves his people… and forgives them for everything… and holds no resentment for them… the wife was to respect her husband and hold him in high esteem… because believers hold God in high esteem….

Because of these things, I was taught that marriage was created by God… to be a picture of “Christ and his bride—the Church.” That is why I was taught that when two people are married, it’s a picture of salvation… that’s why “consummating” the marriage them “bonds” them together… for life… by making them “become one”. I was also taught that this is why divorce is absolutely wrong… because it makes a mockery out of God’s salvation.

I am not a lesbian, but I’ve had sexual thoughts about women and this has confused me a fair bit because growing up, I was taught that marriage=whatever God wanted it to mean.
Hopefully this makes sense?

I’m not saying this is everyone’s reason, but I am saying I hope you can understand why I’ve had trouble with it before.

Frankie's avatar

@Bellatrix Thanks for the response! The religious thing still baffles me, though…so they don’t support gay marriage for religious (in this case, Catholic) reasons, but being gay is okay even though (I think) the Catholic Church is against that as well? Or is this the thing where it’s “okay” to be gay as long as you aren’t a “practicing” gay person?

Bellatrix's avatar

@Frankie, well we are what we are. I don’t believe we choose to be straight or gay. So, if you are gay… but happen to be a catholic… what do you do? I think there are enough examples of the torment people have gone through trying to deny to themselves and others that they are homosexual to know it is not a healthy thing. It still happens though.

However, they may be staunchly religious and so be torn because they want to follow the dictates of their religion.

I am an atheist so I can’t really speak for the conflict this would cause for someone trying to follow a specific religion that was anti-homosexuality. I can only presume it would be a horrible situation to be in.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Hmm. I don’t know that I’ve actually ever heard a gay person say that they didn’t believe in gay marriage, other than a few politicians who seem to be toeing the party line, and some who don’t believe in marriage, period. And with that last one, I think it gets into an issue of just supporting friends a lot of times – you don’t have to approve of every choice your friend makes to be supportive of them, and since so many gay people want their friends to support them even if they don’t really get the whole “gay” thing, some gay people feel obliged to repay the favor.

But, I could theoretically see a deeply religious person seeing marriage strictly as a religious institution that should be separated from the legal union, and believing that, since their religion disapproves of homosexuality, gays should really have civil unions. (Though, I would imagine this would be accompanied by the belief that civil unions should be strengthened and marriages have legal bindings removed).

Nullo's avatar

I’m guessing that the guy is being pedantic and his mom’s missing it – “I support equal marriage,” he might be saying. As a way to try to drive the idea into people’s heads through repetition.

Failing that, he may genuinely believe that marriage is for straight people. Not everybody’s going to conform to the stereotype. And if he’s being sincere, then good for him!

bkcunningham's avatar

-
– Adoption from some countries is easier for a single person as opposed to a gay couple.
– The federal government doesn’t recognize gay marriage. Taxes will be more complicated. Married filing joint for state, individual for federal taxes. Some states are giving same sex married couple a tax advantage over hetro-couples.
– Unless all states recognize gay marriage, you may be opening a can of worms trying to have the marriage recognized if you move to a state that doesn’t recognize same sex marriages.
– Some companies are already dropping their policy of qualifying domestic partners for family benefits like insurance in states recognizing gay marriages.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think the point is not everyone supports marriage period. It seems as if there is a trend among heterosexual couples to simply live together especially if it is a second or third alliance. I have wondered if marriage is really that important to all gay folks or if it is just a barrier to be broken in pursuit of equality? I personally don’t care who marries or doesn’t marry whom!

lonelydragon's avatar

As others have pointed out, maybe they’re experiencing cognitive dissonance between their sexuality and their religion’s teaching about marriage.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Oh, totally forgot this one – they might think that they’re a sinner for being gay, that being gay is wrong, have lots of angst over it, and be trying to go straight. Not all gay people are ok with being gay.

cockswain's avatar

Who knows. Anyone who doesn’t support gay marriage is a bigot, whether they want to admit or rationalize it or not.

Nullo's avatar

@cockswain A lot of people who don’t support gay marriage do so because they adhere to the classic definition. You may as well call bigots the sort of people who don’t recognize ‘google’ as a dictionary word.

Frankie's avatar

@Aethelflaed “Oh, totally forgot this one – they might think that they’re a sinner for being gay, that being gay is wrong, have lots of angst over it, and be trying to go straight. Not all gay people are ok with being gay.” <—THIS is a case where I can understand why they would be against gay marriage. I’m talking more about gay people who are not only “out,” but are not ashamed of and comfortable are with (or at least do not intend to hide) being gay.

@rooeytoo I can somewhat understand this, but like I said in my original question, I know there are people out there who are personally against marriage, but they typically aren’t necessarily in favor of banning marriage for everyone. It’s just something they, themselves, will never do. And I guess I can’t understand why a gay person would be any different. I suppose the answer is that there really is no answer.

Frankie's avatar

That’s supposed to be “are comfortable with,” not “comfortable are with”...I promise I’m not dyslexic, just kind of hungover.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Frankie A lot of people who aren’t in favor of marriage aren’t in favor of banning marriage for everyone because they don’t see that as a winnable and/or honorable tactic, not because they genuinely don’t care if others choose differently.

cockswain's avatar

No, @Nullo , I’m going to go out on a limb and say the people against gay marriage are giant assholes compared to people that don’t like the word “google” as a verb.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo By “classic definition of marriage,” I assume you mean an arrangement in which one man sells his daughter to another man for mutual benefit?

Or perhaps you mean an arrangement by which two people commit themselves to one another for the purposes of bilateral domestic service in a private ceremony with no governmental or religious oversight?

Or perhaps you mean an arrangement by which the leader of a group of people distributes women among the men, typically retaining two or three for himself?

Or perhaps you mean an arrangement in which a set of brothers all attach themselves to a single woman so as to not divide up a family estate?

Or do you really mean the relatively new practice wherein two people who love one another decide they wish to spend the rest of their lives together and formalize this under the auspices of a civilly recognized institution?

The fact is that there is no such thing as “traditional marriage,” nor is there a “classic definition of marriage.” There’s just a lot of myths about traditional marriage and classical definitions thereof.

bookish1's avatar

Because it’s a distraction from more important legislation that affects the day-to-day survival of all queer people, such as equal housing and employment non-discrimination.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@bookish1 It seems to me that’s less a reason not to support marriage equality and more a reason not to put it at the top of one’s list of priorities.

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